There’s a certain type of child who craves excitement — you know, the climbers, the leapers, the racers, the “look, ma, no-hands” types. And for those kids — or, really, even for anyone who’s just a tad bored of the same old playground equipment or tumbling class — we’ve rounded up some of the more adventure-packed forms of entertainment right here in the city, from ropes courses to circus arts to rock climbing, and more.
The New Fairmount Park Zipline
Word on the street is that the Treetops Quest zipline and ropes course is no joke — even the kids’ courses offer a little adrenaline rush. There’s a “chick peas” course for 4- to 6-year-olds (wherein adult supervision is required), as well as two other levels of courses designed for kids 7 to 12, then 12 to 17, respectively. (Plus levels for adults, which sound intense/amazing/super high up!) Little-kid sessions start at $17 if you make an online reservation; you can check here for more scheduling and pricing details.
Philadelphia Rock Gyms — which has city locations in East Falls and –soon — in Fishtown — offers “kinder climb” classes (and summer kinder climb) for kids as young as 4; they also offer kids’ nights, a (drop-off!!) climbing session for kids of all experience levels between the ages of 6 and 15. There are day-off camps and spring break camps and summer camps, as well — even half-day camps for the four-year-old climbers. (Note: Suburbanites! There are also Philly Rock Gyms in the ‘burbs!)
The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts would have fulfilled a major childhood dream of mine, had it been around when I was growing up. This place offers classes for kids starting at 3 years old — classes in which the little ones can climb ropes, hang from trapezes, walk on the tightwire and learn how to juggle scarves … plus enjoy circus playtime. (I want this class!) For bigger kids, the skills just get more advanced — things like acrobatics and aerial slings and trampoline work. It sounds AWESOME. Also, they do camps! (Even just by the day! For kids as young as 5!)
What’s funny is that five years ago, basically nobody even knew what this was, and now there are actually several regional options for kids who want to be ninjas on obstacle courses. (Which is most of them, yes?) Pinnacle Parkour Academy is a city option near East Falls, where children three and up can take classes which work on movement and parkour-based games (bigger kids do even more running, jumping and climbing). They also run single day camps (for 6 and up) and summer camp (for 7 and up). (Notable: This year’s theme at summer camp focuses on Ukemi … “the discipline of falling.”)